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Haymarket Car park closure – £186,000 loss of income

Haymarket car park closed

Complaints are surfacing about the Council’s decision to – oh so quietly – close the Haymarket car park. It appears that they fear a reaction like that which greeted their attempts to sell off the Union Terrace car park.

Lack of publicity – and direction signage to alternatives – represents poor public relations by the Council.

While Haymarket was scheduled to be sold as part of the aborted new Council HQ project, it would make little sense to sell it at this point in the economic cycle. Together with the adjacent former ambulance station site, the Council should be looking for a receipt in excess of £4 million. That seems unlikely in the present troubled times, although residential property on the nearby Hungate development continues to sell steadily.

The archaeologists have rightly been given access to the Haymarket site for the last 2 years and recently benefitted from another £100k grant which will allow them to finish their work. But that is no excuse for not allowing parking either on Haymarket or on the Ambulance station site (which was levelled about 18 months ago) or a combination of both.

Council taxpayers will be watching the situation closely as the car park generates about £186,000 a year in income. Most of that income is now likely to be diverted to the nearby – privately owned and operated – Garden Place multi storey car park.

Not too far away, is the Kent Street car park which was also sold to the private sector. The new owners have invested heavily in security measures which now make it a 24/7 car park with pay on exit facilities. All day parking is advertised for less than £9 with further discounts available for regularly users.

The discounts don’t, however, yet match the Councils annual £497.50 per year or £52.50 per month, park anytime, season ticket which is still available for the owners of low emission vehicles in the City.

York Community Stadium – further details

Members of the planning committee will be considering the proposed conditions and Section 106 legal obligations, recommended by officers, at their meeting on Wednesday 23 May 2012.
In addition, the committee will consider a related application for drainage, landscaping and ecology works mainly comprising new ponds and channels totalling approximately 4,500sqm, together with a mosaic of wet and dry grassland and native planting. Two viewing platforms would be erected for public access.

Wild life reserve

The application has been prompted by the planning application for the community stadium and retail development scheme on the Vangarde (John Lewis/Marks & Spencer) site and at the existing Huntington Stadium.

Officers report, “the development would affect existing amphibian populations within the Vangarde site. In order for the development scheme to be implemented, the impact on amphibians would have to be mitigated.The proposal is for the amphibians to be relocated to an alternative, better, location between Malton Road and the Park and Ride site at Monks Cross. Planning permission for the creation of an amphibian conservation area was granted in August 2011. The landscaping and drainage works for which consent is now being sought include a wildlife corridor between the Vangarde site and the amphibian conservation area. The proposals would provide an informal recreation and education space within the community”.
The decision to approve the stadium planning application means that work on the detailed planning application for a new county standard athletics track, to be built at the sports village at York University’s Heslington East Campus, can also progress.

The Community Stadium will provide a home for the city’s professional football and rugby league teams. It will enable the football and rugby league teams to continue to deliver and develop the extensive range of community programmes with schools, clubs and community groups across the city.

The development will include:

• A new clinical health facility providing outpatients facilities, which will address access and health inequality issues, for example physiotherapy, pain management, sexual health, weight management and blood taking.

• An Institute for Sport and Well-being with St John’s University, focusing on delivering initiatives to promote sport, activity, health, education and well-being for those living and working in York and the surrounding area.

• An independent living assessment centre for people with disabilities and their carers.

• A new child’s play facility and crèche – Creepy Crawlies.

• Improved links and integration of these facilities with the existing leisure centre and a package of improvements to the existing leisure centre (Courtneys/ Waterworld).

• A new 3G floodlit games court aimed at junior football and rugby, for the local community.

• Wider community use of the onsite conferencing and entertainment facilities.

• A new Gateway Explore Library.

Anti cycle theft campaign stepped up in Westfield

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York High school students are being asked to have their bikes tagged as part of a campaign to reduce cycle theft in the City (see right),

The safer York Partnership have issued a statement in support of the campaign, “York is a cycling city, and has a far higher level of cycle usage than in the majority of UK cities. Cycling is good for the city in terms of the environment and the health of our residents. However, a proliferation of bikes can mean rich pickings for any would-be thieves.

Unfortunately over 1000 bikes are stolen each year in York. A significant proportion of these have been left insecure – bikes that haven’t been locked at all, locked inadequately, ‘secured’ with a poor quality lock or locked to themselves or an insecure object.

It is fair to say that in the above cases cyclists make it easy for a thief to walk off with their bike. Cycle theft statistics could be radically improved if people took more care over the security of their bikes. Continue reading

Adult Education Awards

Adult learners have been praised for their commitment and achievements in York this week, at the first Adult Education Awards ceremony to be held in the city for almost 10-years.

The awards ceremony ties in with the national Adult Learners’ Week (12 -18 May) and saw almost 100 people from across the city celebrate their success throughout the year. Continue reading

20 mph speed limit – the unanswered questions

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The report on proposed City wide 20 mph speed limit has now been published. It can be found here.

Residents wishing to submit written representations – or who wish to register to speak at the meeting – only have until 12:00 noon on Monday 21 May to do so (Email –

The report confirms an intention to implement a 20 mph speed limit across western York over the next year. Some major roads including Wetherby Road and Tadcaster Road might be excluded from the restriction. Local streets which form the majority of the residential road network will be included in the roll out. All other classifications, A, B and minor roads, which form the more strategic or through routes will generally be excluded.

20 mph signs would be erected at the entrance to each street with repeater signs every 300 metres. The costs of the scheme are put at £500,000 with an extra £100,000 allocated for more traffic calming.

The Council intend to recruit a “20 mph project manager” Continue reading

York Community Stadium plan “go ahead”

This afternoons Planning Commitee meeting has given approval to the application to build a new Community Stadium at Monks Cross. The application was approved by 11 votes to 4.

The development will mainly be funded from the proceeds of a neighbouring development which will see a John Lewis and a Marks & Spencer (homeware) store constructed.

The decision comes after a lenthy 8 hour committee meeting. The scheme attracted support from LibDem and Labour Councillors while Tory and Green representatives opposed the plan.

The plan may still be “called in” by central government for review.

York tennis aces train for Special Olympics

A team of four tennis aces from York have been selected to serve for Great Britain in the 8th German Special Olympics National Games on 21 May 2012.

The four learning disabled players, Laura Campbell, Matthew Wreglesworth, Emma Lindsay and Cameron Long, who train at York Tennis Club, Shipton Road under coach Bev Cairns will compete against German and Swiss tennis teams in singles and mixed doubles. Continue reading

Monks Cross 2

So what are the objections to cross subsidising the new stadium, community facilities and athletics centre (which is to be located on Hull Road) from the profits of a commercial development involving new stores for John Lewis and Marks and Spencer (homeware).

Essentially there are two.

The first relates to traffic generation.
There are fears of increased congestion near Monks Cross even prompting some Labour Councillors to favour charging for shopper parking at Monks Cross to deter car borne access.

The answer to this objection rests in history. In 1997 a traffic study concluded that York would be gridlocked within a decade. Draconian measures to deter car use were advocated by some. Although car parking charges were dramatically increased in the early part of the last decade, traffic patterns did not generally accord with projections. Some residents opted for different transport modes (cycling, public transport) but the main change was in the time of day that people chose to make their journeys. “Rush hours” spread into a 2 hour period. Traffic levels peaked and have been stable in the City for nearly 5 years now. The grid lock has not materialised.

At Monks Cross the same will happen. Drivers do not deliberately head for locations where they face long delays. They choose their journey times carefully. York is unlike many of its competitors in that it is relatively compact. The park and ride journey from Monks Cross to the City centre usually takes less than 15 minutes. Travellers will opt for the quickest way of getting to their destination.

The second concern relates to the business which may be taken from York City centre shops by the magnet effect of the John Lewis and Marks and Spencers stores.

Marks and Spencer has already decided (before the Monks Cross development was floated) to close its Coppergate store. Like it or not, bulky items are more often than not now bought at locations easily accessible by private transport or through the internet. Inevitably this means a reduction in City centre sales.

John Lewis may have considered a City centre location a decade ago when the Coppergate 2 development was a possibility but times have moved on and their commitment is to Monks Cross. If that fails, then he focus of their investment is likely to switch to the new Leeds shopping developments. Continue reading